Giving credit where credit is due, commenter cellardoor on ComicsKingdom.com made a great point by referencing what is certainly the inspiration for the “accidental” statue + beehive combination Violet and Cherry uncovered.
It is a statue by the Paris-born, New York artist Pierre Huyghe, entitled Exomind (Deep Water) that was part of a recent traveling exhibit at San Francisco’s de Young Museum. As Rivera lives in San Francisco, I think the connection is a lock.
By the way, the beehive is real and is part of the statue’s assemblage—not an accident of nature. Thus, it is allowed to evolve naturally. The hive is monitored by cameras, 24×7, even when the statue is in transit between museums! For the record, these are Buckfast honeybees, not South American killer bees.
Okay, I’m sure everybody is wondering: What the #@(!? Is that thing on top of the statue? To me, it looks like a set of Samsonite luggage that somebody opened, or maybe a collection of seat cushions. Who is this person, then? It appears to be somebody dressed in typical 18th century frontier clothing, holding a telescope in his left hand and something not quite defined in his right. Perhaps a folded map or AAA TripTik? Well, it must be my imagination running away with me, because the statue in panel 3 reminds me more of the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. Even that unidentified object in its right hand looks more like a small ax.
I searched online for natural bee hives and found a variety of really oddly-shaped structures, in a variety of locations, some of them similar to the one on the statue. Unlike the hysterical Violet (who is, after all, following Mark’s advice about avoiding bee attacks), Cherry seems unfazed by the swarm. I’m also thinking that these must not be the dreaded killer bees of Sunday’s fame. There goes another one of my outlandish theories.
Still, Cherry is right to question the hive on top of the statue. It certainly seems like a most unlikely location. I suppose it makes for some good press, er, storytelling, though it would have been more interesting to see the bee hive growing under the frontiersman’s crotch.
Two mysteries remain: Who is the subject of the statue? Who, if anybody, affected to have a bee hive placed on top of said statue? A beekeeping web site notes that bees are partial to some kind of odd color combo of yellow and ultraviolet. And they are partial to fast-moving objects! So, looks like Cherry’s decision to hold fast while Violet runs off with her yellow hat was a good idea.
Wait a minute…Violet + yellowhat! Is this a coincidence or is Rivera a lot more subtle than people give her credit for? The BIG OBJECTION to this otherwise absurd notion on my part is that we are not sure if Rivera is responsible for the colors used in the dailies. Does anybody know for sure? I have read that KFS has staff doing the colorization of the dailies, but not necessarily under the direction of the strip artists. I am trying to find out, but it does make any kind of analysis (or goofy theory-making) based on color something of a shaky foundation. I’ve often wondered about this colorizing, since it is not normally done for daily publications, as we all know. Like Ted Turner’s colorization of old movies, it seems to be more of a marketing tactic.